Controversial Abbey Road plans move a step closer

A CONTROVERSIAL regeneration plan for Abbey Road is moving one step closer to reality with a public exhibition of the masterplan designs next week.

The regeneration of the Abbey Area, around the junction of Abbey Road and Belsize Road, is looking to bring 1,200 homes on four housing estates up to standard as well as providing new residential, retail, community and business space.

Residents are being invited to the masterplan exhibition before Camden Council decides whether to submit a formal planning application.

But despite a long period of public consultation over various regeneration options, critics say the overwhelming sentiment among nearby residents is against the development plans.

Carin Battle, who was one of the founders of the Against Developing Abbey group, has lived in the area for 28 years.

She said: “We welcome a reasonable amount of development but then they decide to pull more blocks down at the same time.

“The enormous development will completely change the character of the area and will be huge – losing a lot of natural light.

Most Read

“We don’t want overdevelopment. A lot of money has been spent trying to encourage us to support this but the whole thing is ridiculous.”

Swiss Cottage councillor Don Williams says he conducted a vote at a recent public meeting which saw the majority of residents oppose the plans.

“The development is unsympathetic to the area, with excess building height, an increase in housing density and less green spaces around,” he said.

“People think the development isn’t needed and they are unhappy about what is being proposed. The need for regeneration is somewhat being imposed from outside rather than from the inside.”

The final proposal selected will see new housing blocks built, new green spaces and play areas created and new community facilities constructed.

But Mr Williams says it is the issue of housing that has created the most anxiety for residents.

“I don’t think residents are against social housing in general – but they are if it is unsympathetic to the area,” he said.

“More housing would bring a lot of people to an area which is already overcrowded and things like schools are pushed to the limit.

“I’m not a supporter of things that go ahead that do not have the support of the residents when they are making a reasonable case.

“If they continue to object then the council should listen to what the residents are saying.”

A number of public consultations have been taking place with residents on the estates over the course of this year.

The exhibition will take place from November 22 to 27 in the Abbey Hive on Abbey Road and residents are encouraged to go along to give their views on the plans.

Camden Council was unavailable for comment.